Three more national park neighbourhood plans are set in stone

Latest consultation on Petworth Neighbourhood plan at the Leconfield Hall, Petworth Market Square. Pic Steve Robards  SR1617110 SUS-160618-102507001
Latest consultation on Petworth Neighbourhood plan at the Leconfield Hall, Petworth Market Square. Pic Steve Robards SR1617110 SUS-160618-102507001

Three more Neighbourhood Plans have been finalised and set in stone or ‘made’ by the South Downs National Park Authority in the last three months.

Members of the park’s planning committee are set to receive the latest update on work which has been carried out by communities on their plans when they meet next Thursday (July 14).

The latest plans to be finalised are Wisborough Green and Milland which went before park planners on June 9 and Fernhurst which was made in April.

The stakes in the neighbourhood plan game inside the boundaries of the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) were raised earlier this year when national park officers said all communities intending to allocate housing sites in their neighbourhood plans should get them to ‘pre-submission stage at least six months before the consultation on the park’s own Local Plan.

Officers were expecting to go out to consultation on their plan in October this year and gave communities an April deadline.

But work on the park’s local plan ran into difficulties when the planning department hit a staffing crisis and the deadline came and went. Among the plans which had felt the heat was Petworth which was only at the first stage of evidence gathering in January this year.

But it has gathered momentum over the last few months and recently more than 400 people attended a public consultation event to consider a range of options relating to housing and highways, public realm improvements as well as community facilities and local green spaces.

Petworth’s pre-submission plan is now expected to be published at the start of next year and meet national park deadlines.

At Fittleworth the plan group has submitted an early draft version for initial comment and Horsham District Council officers have been commissioned by the park to help in the preparation of a strategic environmental assessment.

Bury’s pre-submission draft is expected in the next two months.

But at Lynchmere, the planning committee is due to be told, the plan has been put on hold whilst the parish council look for more volunteers to help carry out the work.

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